The PSA is taking a two-track approach to delivering on pay equity - using the force of new law to settle claims and new guidance to end discrimination.
Women from across the union movement came together on November 7 to celebrate the day the Equal Pay Amendment Act came into force.
The new law will enable unions to raise and pursue equal pay claims directly with employers, rather than going through an adversarial court process.
LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND
Ahead of the new legislation coming into force, the PSA signed bargaining process agreements with employers to progress our claims for public service administration and clerical workers, local government library assistants, community social service workers and NGO social service workers.
It’s part of an equal pay delivery plan designed to leave no one behind.
“We’re putting a stake in the ground. We’re signalling to the new Government that we would like them to join with us to settle claims to deliver on their commitment to pay equity,” says PSA national secretary Kerry Davies.
Kerry says we hope to make the most of the next three years, by prioritising the settlement of claims where there are big groups of low paid workers and Māori and Pasefika women.
“So while we can’t achieve equal pay for everyone overnight, we hope that a win for one group of workers will be seen as a win for all, with each settlement paving the way for the next.”
EQUAL PAY HOPES
Speaking at the Equal Pay Amendment Act celebration, PSA DHB administration delegate Nia Bartley spoke about the unequal pay rates in her female-dominated profession.
Nia says DHB admin workers play an integral role in delivering quality care to patients and looking after other staff members, but low pay makes it tough for them to properly care for themselves and their families.
“Our admin workers have suffered. Some have become numb to it all because being underpaid has been normalised,” she says.
But Nia remains optimistic.
“The Government and our employers have recognised a pay increase is needed. I have hope equal pay is on the horizon. We are all worth 100%.”
GENDER PAY PRINCIPLES
Alongside the settlement of equal pay claims, the PSA is seeking to end systemic discrimination in work practices through the implementation of the Gender Pay Principles.
The principles were agreed by a tripartite working group of unions, business and government following a PSA legal claim of discrimination against the Public Service.
The set of guidance to implement the principles is now complete, following the publishing of guidance on remuneration, and career progression, breaks and leave.
“It’s step by step guidance on good work practice to eliminate the gender pay gap. Each government department has used this to develop their gender pay gap action plans,” says PSA policy advisor Sue O’Shea.
While the guidance talks about gender discrimination, the principles will help eliminate all discrimination.
The PSA and Te Kawa Mataaho have developed the guidance in collaboration with other members of the Gender Pay Principles Working Group.
While the Public Service is obliged to use the guidance, it's hoped it will have a flow-on effect for other workers.
“We’d like it pushed out beyond the public service as another way to reduce inequalities across the board,” Sue says.
“We are gradually seeing progress in closing the gender pay gap, but we are also wanting to change workplace cultures.”
You can help us stay on track to deliver equal pay for all by becoming an equal pay advocate at www.psa.org.nz/equal-pay/
Gender Pay Principles:
1 Freedom from bias and discrimination
2 Transparency and accessibility
3 Relationship between paid and unpaid work
5 Participation and Engagement
Gender Pay Guidance to implement the principles covers:
The guidance is available here: www.publicservice.govt.nz/our-work/the-gender-pay-gap-and-pay-equity/
Photo Caption: Nia Bartley (centre) and other union women gathered to celebrate the day the Equal Pay Amendment Act came into force
Photo Credit: Mark Coote courtesy of NZEI
Two Tracks to Equality Graphic Design: Eleanor McIntyre
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